From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
by Dee Perkins
The Election Day tumult for Democrats saw the re-election of Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to Congress. No small feat in conservative Arizona, but not surprising from the woman who became the first out Bisexual person elected to Congress in 2012 when she beat out her Republican rival.
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Alison Bechdel and Mary L. Bonauto are among the 2014 MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive no-strings-attached stipends of $625,000 to further their “own creative visions.” Bonauto, who has been called “our [read LGBT] Thurgood Marshall,” is a civil rights attorney whose work has been critical to same-sex marriage cases that went to the Supreme Court. Bechdel is a cartoonist and graphic memoirist whose ground-breaking comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” (1983-2008) chronicled the lives of Lesbians and, perhaps most famously, offered a simple gauge of any film’s inclusion of women in “The Rule” (1985): 1) Does it have two female characters? 2) Who talk to each other? 3) About something other than a man? Her Eisner-winning graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was adapted into a musical and became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
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In early November, Kansas and Missouri’s same-sex marriage bans were struck down as unconstitutional. While these states are now poised to join D.C. and 32 other states in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee to ban such unions, creating a “circuit split” since the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits have all sided with marriage equality. This disagreement on the same question of law makes it likely that the Supreme Court will have to decide whether the Constitution extends the right to marry to all Americans.